Why Millennials Need to Vote Now More Than Ever
The 2018 Midterms are just around the corner and now more than ever, Americans are feeling empowered to vote. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum there is one thing we need to agree on: casting your ballot does matter.
Since the 2016 elections, we've seen a staggering increase in political involvement, but the U.S. still trails in voter turnout. According to recent data from the U.S. Census, voter turnout in the U.S. is among the lowest in developed Nations and the numbers are even lower among millennials.
It's no secret that young voters don't show up to the polls. For decades, young Americans have notoriously conveyed a lack of interest in civic engagement, but for the first time in 40 years millennials will pass baby boomers as the largest group eligible to vote. This could mean a major shift in our political makeup, but that's only if we see more young people casting ballots today.
Chaffey student George Amaya admitted he hadn't studied his ballot yet but planned to be informed by the time midterms roll around.
"I definitely didn’t want to go into this midterm election ignorant considering there are a lot more propositions that’ll affect my community more directly than the presidential election," Amaya said.
When we re-elected President Obama in 2012, 59% of Americans eligible to vote admitted they didn't because "nothing ever gets done". In a recent survey, they also justified not voting because "their vote doesn't count", and the government's "too corrupt" to change.
Whatever your excuses are—they are not good enough. Millennials fail to realize that there is strength in numbers. Our voices can and will be heard if we ban together in unity.
The United States is no stranger to the oppression of minorities. Those who came before us fought tirelessly to obtain the right to vote and, quite frankly, the right to live. Today we still see the rights of Americans being stripped away. Just recently the Trump administration made efforts to eradicate the Trans community when they sent out a memo that classified gender as something determined by genitalia at birth. A statement that only perpetuates the violence committed against them.
Moreover, we have witnessed a number of videos go viral of police officers killing unarmed people of color. An issue we have begun to sweep under the rug because we can't find politicians who are willing to hold the police accountable for their actions. If young voters do not show up the polls on Tuesday these injustices will continue to get worse.
"It’s my right to vote, and at one point in time it wasn’t," said Chaffey student Haley Ramsdell. "I want to be able to make a difference and change the world we live in, and I can’t do that by sitting back and watching a generation before me make decisions that affect my life more than their own."
This election isn't about whether or not you're "into politics", it's about how much you care about your future. If you've ever worried about access to health care, tuition expenses, climate change or even the potholes in your city then you need to go out and vote. Even if ballot language intimidates you, don't let that deter you from doing your research, and submitting your ballot. There are several online resources that can help you break down propositions that are admittedly a bit confusing.
Remember that your voice counts. When you discuss politics with your friends and family, hold them accountable for the role they play in your future when they decide not to vote. Most importantly, get out and vote.